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A Historically Republican Donor Has Pledged Up to $20 Million for Democratic Candidates

Seth Klarman used to be the Republican party’s largest donor in New England. Now, the billionaire investor says he’s donating up to $20 million solely to Democratic candidates.

“We need to turn the House and Senate as a check on Donald Trump and his runaway presidency,” Klarman told The New York Times. “I think democracy is at stake.”

Klarman, 61, is the founder of the Boston-based hedge fund Baupost Group, where he manages more than $30 billion. According to Forbes, he’s worth $1.5 billion. But to this registered independent: “There are things more important than making money.”

Klarman’s Federal Election Commission filings for this year will show he’s donated nearly $5 million to roughly 150 Democratic candidates, the Times reports, including Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Texas Senate candidate Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

His change of heart towards the Republican party is all thanks to President Donald Trump, who Klarman has described as displaying “ill temper, chronic impulsivity, limited attention span, ignorance of history and flawed judgment.” While he agrees with some of the president’s policies, Klarman says he is more focused on “the democratic norms that are being eroded.”

Speaking to the Times, Klarman voiced his concerns about Republicans’ voter suppression and Trump’s opinions towards immigrants and people of color. He says the majority of Republicans are “cowards,” and disapproves of their huge tax cut for the wealthy.

“Whatever irresponsible fiscal things the Democrats do won’t be worse than what the Republicans have already done,” said Klarman.

Intent on flipping both the House and the Senate in favor of Democrats, he’s donating more than ever before, potentially making him one of the Democratic party’s top donors.

“By the election I think I’ll have spent between $18 and $20 million,” said Klarman.